Cancel My Three O’Clock

by Sam Kenyon


Lunch had only taken two hours so Alfred T. Nottingworth was feeling quite efficient and most pleased with himself. It was 1:47 PM when he glanced out his office window to see a nuclear blast heading his way. He pressed the power button on the windowsill, but the image remained.

“Damn, real life…” he muttered, now realizing it was not a nuclear explosion, but a tsunami of epic proportions emanating from some distant four-dimensional mushroom cloud, or so he guessed with his feeble imagination. Time was speeding up, and Alfred’s human senses could only comprehend a very small visible and auditory portion of the rapidly approaching front.

Alfred canceled two incoming calls and stabbed an emergency line to the smartest scientist on his payroll. “Brettfield! The world’s exploding in my backyard, what the hell is going on?”

“You’re talking too fast Al, slow down.”

“Turn on… the news… explosion… heading… for me.”

“What?” Brettfield went away for a few seconds. Distant sounds of swearing. Click, he swapped to someone else on the phone. He came back. “Al are you there? It’s not an explosion. You’re in the outskirts of an information entropy singularity… those fools at Montello Myron Laboratories have stored more data in a rigid volume then is possible in our curvature of space-time. It’s collapsed into an information whirlpool. You’ll be sucked in by about 2:00 PM. You must get out of there!”

“This… isn’t… us?”

“No, we’re not liable at all. It’s all Montello Myron Labs. But we might be able to stop it if we deploy the molecular structure compressors, you know the new landfill-shrinking nanobots? They might be able to reduce the total amount of information at the core if we set the compression ratio to non-lossless.”

“Good… do… it.”

“You must get out of there Al!”

“No… time… you… must… stop… this.”

He quickly messaged his secretary, but “quickly” seemed to last for hours. His brain wasn’t in the right time frame anymore, not even the same as his mouth. The last thing Alfred said before the event horizon reached him was in a lethargic bass tone: “Cancel… my… three… o’… clock—”